Montana divorce law standardizes the best interests of the child when it comes to making decisions regarding child custody and parenting time. Despite the legal focus on the best interests of a child, the divorce process itself can have a negative impact on the lives of children in a number of different ways.
From child custody to parenting time to a myriad of other issues, divorce can and typically does have a significant impact on the lives of children. Four areas exist which require particular focus and consideration when it comes to the impact of the emotional, psychological, and overall health of children.
Mental health issues
A considerable number of children with divorcing parents or with parents who have divorced experience mental health issues. These include, but are not limited to:
- Adjustment disorder
At times, professional mental health assistance is recommended to better ensure the overall emotional health of children during and after a divorce.
A notable percentage of children with divorcing or divorced parents display behavioral problems. This oftentimes is referred to as “acting out” and occurs at home, school, and among their peers is social settings. In many instances, behavioral issues naturally abate over time.
Many children experience a decline in their academic performances during or after their parents divorce. Oftentimes, this stems from the instability of dividing their time between two different homes. It can also be associated with mental health issues like depression.
Finally, some children with divorcing or divorced parents will engage in risk-taking activities. These types of activity can include the use of mind-altering substances or of becoming sexually active before reaching the age of 16 or 17.
Divorcing parents as well as those who are now divorced must be aware of the emotional states of their children as a result of the status of their marriages and the families. The potential negative impact that divorce can have on the lives of children simply cannot be understated.